Coffee has long been a staple in many people’s daily routines, providing a much-needed boost of energy and a sense of ritual and community.
However, the rise of specialty coffee has also brought a shift in the way we think about and consume our daily cup of joe.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the role that specialty coffee can play in supporting mental health and creating a more mindful and inclusive coffee culture.
What is Specialty Coffee?
Before diving into the relationship between specialty coffee and mental health, let’s first define what we mean by “specialty coffee.”
Specialty coffee refers to coffee that has been graded 80 or above on a 100-point scale by a certified coffee taster, also known as a “coffee copper.”
This high score indicates that the coffee has a distinct and complex flavour profile, with no defects or off-flavours present.
In addition to its superior taste, specialty coffee is also often sourced from small-scale farms and cooperatives and is often sustainably and ethically produced.
The focus on quality and sustainability sets specialty coffee apart from mass-produced coffee, which is often grown on large plantations and may not prioritize these values.
Specialty Coffee and Mindfulness
The rise of specialty coffee has also brought a shift in the way we think about and consume our daily cup of joe
Attention to Detail:
One of the key characteristics of specialty coffee is the focus on quality and attention to detail.
This mindfulness extends beyond the production and tasting of the coffee itself and can also be found in the atmosphere and experience of specialty coffee shops.
Coffee Shops/Relaxing Spaces:
Specialty coffee shops are often designed to be welcoming and relaxing spaces, where customers can take their time and enjoy their coffee in a laid-back setting.
This can be a welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle of daily life and can provide a much-needed moment of relaxation and mindfulness.
Ritual of Preparation:
In addition to the physical space, the ritual of preparing and enjoying specialty coffee can also promote mindfulness.
The slow, methodical process of brewing pour-over coffee, for example, can be a meditative experience in itself.
Taking the time to carefully select and prepare your coffee can also encourage you to be present at the moment and fully engage with the task at hand.
Specialty Coffee and Inclusivity
In recent years, there has been a push within the specialty coffee industry to make coffee culture more inclusive and welcoming to all.
This includes efforts to increase representation and diversity within the industry and to create a more inclusive atmosphere in coffee shops.
Alternative Milk/Dietary Restrictions:
One way that specialty coffee shops are promoting inclusivity is by offering a wider range of non-dairy milk alternatives, such as almond, soy, and oat milk.
This can make specialty coffee more accessible to those with dietary restrictions or preferences.
Specialty coffee shops are also making an effort to provide more seating options and accommodations for customers with disabilities.
This can include features like wheelchair ramps and accessible bathrooms, as well as providing training for baristas on how to effectively communicate with and serve customers with disabilities.
Specialty Coffee and Mental Health
In addition to the physical and sensory benefits of specialty coffee, there is also evidence to suggest that coffee itself can have positive effects on mental health.
Improve Brain Function:
Moderate coffee consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of depression and suicide, as well as improved cognitive function and mood.
However, it’s important to note that these benefits are most likely to be seen with moderate coffee consumption, defined as 3-4 cups per day.
Overconsumption of coffee can lead to negative side effects such as jitters, insomnia, and increased anxiety.
A study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry found that coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of depression in both men and women.
Another study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that caffeine, a key component of coffee, can improve mood, reaction time, and memory.
Sense Of Community:
Another way that specialty coffee can support mental health is by providing a sense of community and connection.
Specialty coffee shops often serve as gathering places where people can meet, socialize, and form relationships.
The sense of community that can be found in these spaces can be especially important for those who may be isolated or struggling with mental health issues.
In addition to the personal benefits of specialty coffee, the focus on sustainability and ethical production can also have a positive impact on mental health.
Supporting small-scale farmers and environmentally-conscious practices can give consumers a sense of purpose and satisfaction, which can contribute to overall well-being.
It’s important to note that while specialty coffee can have many positive effects on mental health, it is not a replacement for proper treatment and support from mental health professionals.
However, incorporating specialty coffee into a healthy and balanced lifestyle can be a small but meaningful way to support overall well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: No, while specialty coffee may have a reputation for being more expensive, there are many affordable options available and efforts are being made within the industry to make specialty coffee more accessible to everyone.
This can include offering a wider range of non-dairy milk alternatives and providing seating options and accommodations for customers with disabilities.
A: The decision to buy specialty coffee over mass-produced coffee is a personal one and will depend on individual preferences and values.
Some people may be willing to pay a higher price for the superior taste and ethical and sustainable production of specialty coffee, while others may prioritize affordability and convenience.
A: There are a number of ways to get involved in the specialty coffee community, such as visiting specialty coffee shops and attending events like cupping sessions and coffee festivals.
You can also connect with others in the specialty coffee community through social media or by joining a specialty coffee association or group.
A: Yes, it is possible to brew specialty coffee at home with the right equipment and techniques.
This can include investing in a high-quality coffee grinder and brewing equipment, such as a pour-over setup or espresso machine, and learning about proper coffee brewing techniques.
There are also a number of resources available online or through specialty coffee shops that can help you get started brewing specialty coffee at home.
Specialty coffee has the potential to support mental health and create a more mindful and inclusive coffee culture.
From the relaxing atmosphere of specialty coffee shops to the mindfulness promoted by the preparation and enjoyment of high-quality coffee, there are many ways in which specialty coffee can have a positive impact on our daily lives.
As the specialty coffee industry continues to grow and evolve, we can hope to see even more efforts to prioritize mental health and inclusivity within the coffee culture.
If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides.